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Daily Update: Raw, Wrestle Kingdom 16, GCW notes


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WON NEWSLETTER: January 3, 2022 Observer Newsletter: WWE changes due to omicron, MSG near record low

In this week's issue: 

The effects of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19 led to a number of major changes and precautions in WWE.

Among the names advertised who didn’t appear on shows this week were Roman Reigns, Big E, Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins, Bianca Belair, Bobby Lashley, Queen Zelina, Shinsuke Nakamura and King Woods.

Current subscribers click here to read.

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Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw and Day 1 fallout as well as the rest of the MMA and wrestling news with Wrestling Observer Radio tonight. You can send questions to the show at

Tonight is the first night of WrestleKingdom at the Tokyo Dome. The show starts at 2 a.m. Eastern and 11 p.m. Pacific time.

  • New Japan Rambo (Royal Rumble) which will come down to four people who will then wrestle in a four-way tomorrow for the King of Pro Wrestling title
  • Sho vs. Yoh
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero vs. KENTA & Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo
  • Tetsuya Naito & Sanada & Bushi vs. Will Ospreay (first match back after months in Japan) & Jeff Cobb & Great O'Khan
  • Katsuyori Shibata vs. ? under grappling submission rules (no striking allowed)
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs. Evil for the Never open weight title
  • Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi vs. Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi for the IWGP heavyweight tag titles
  • Desperado vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP jr. title
  • Shingo Takagi vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP world heavyweight title

A full preview of today and tomorrow's who is in the current issue of the Observer.

We are looking for reports from the WWE show last night in Fayetteville as well as reports from Greenville, SC, for Raw tonight with anything not on the live show such as Main Event or dark matches to

We have multiple polls for this week:

  • Stardom Tokyo Sumo Hall from Wednesday (last day for the poll)
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH Budokan Hall  from Saturday
  • WWE Day 1 from Atlanta
  • New Japan Tokyo Dome tonight

For all shows we are looking for a thumbs up, down or middle along it a best and worst match to

Raw tonight in Greenville, SC should in theory get a ratings increase based on Brock Lesnar's previously unplanned title win.  Lesnar did agree to do  tonight's show as champion.  The plan is a four-way with Bobby Lashley, Big E, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins for the next shot at Lesnar's title.  The plan as of Saturday was for Lesnar vs.  Lashley to be Lesnar's next program.  Damien Priest once again defends the U.S. title against Dolph Ziggler in a title can change hands via DQ match and A.J. Styles vs. Omos is also scheduled.  The final regular season Monday Night Football game is tonight with the Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, which is not a particularly big game.  However, WWE will have major competition the next two weeks with the College football championship game on 1/10, which is bigger than NFL competition and an NFL playoff game on 1/17 which should do huge numbers.  However, with the Rumble coming and then Mania, Raw ratings almost always show an increase over the next three months.

Regarding the Jon Moxley rumors about his return, on Saturday night's GCW show in Atlantic City, NJ, after Homicide won a  Rumble style match, he issued a challenge for Moxley's GCW title at the 1/23 show at the Hammerstein Ballroom. IF that match is taking place, there is no way Moxley's first appearances won't be on AEW television. So that would mean if Moxley is on that show, he is appearing on AEW and I can't imagine Tony Khan would even let them announce the match officially before Moxley's return.

I've been told the match that took place earlier today on the All Japan Korakuen Hall show with Suwama & Shotaro Ashino defending the tag titles against Kento Miyahara & Yuma Aoyagi was incredible.

The first Azteca Underground show put on by MLW will debut on Thursday on the MLW YouTube channel. King Muertes & Black Taurus vs. Alexander Hammerstone & Pagano headlines in a match tape in Tijuana.  It will also air on Saturday on BeinSports.


  • NXT has a major event, New Year's Evil, tomorrow Tommaso Ciampa vs. Bron Breakker for the NXT title Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel & Walter vs. Riddle & MSK Mandy Rose vs.  Cora Jade vs. Raquel Gonzalez for the women's title Carmelo Hayes vs.  Roderick Strong with both the North American and cruiserweight titles at stake A.J. Styles will also appear in a confrontation with Grayson Waller
  • Bill Goldberg will be appearing on the TV show The Goldbergs on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on ABC-TV. Goldberg has appeared on the show several times in the past in a recurring role.
  • The red carpet premiere for The Peacemaker scheduled for Saturday in Los Angeles has been canceled due to COVID concerns. The debut of the HBO Max show, which stars John Cena, is 1/13.


  • Go Big Show, the competition show where Cody Rhodes is a host, returns for its new season on Thursday night on TBS.
  • The Jake Atlas debut airs on Dark Elevation tonight Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs. Mike Orlando & Shayne Stetson Jake Atlas vs. Serpentico Megan Bayne (new gimmick) vs. Leila Gray Scorpio Sky vs. Ray Jaz Riho vs. Valentina Rossi Jay Lethal vs. Troy Hollywood Angelica Risk vs. Skye Blue Andrade El Idolo vs. JP Harlow


  • Today's grandstand challenge is boxing champion Amanda Serrano said she would sign a one fight deal against Valentina Shevchenko in exchange for UFC agreeing to give 50 percent of its annual revenue to the fighters (the fighters currently get 18-20 percent). This comes from Jake Paul's demands that he would fight in UFC if they would do that, give fighters health care and increase the minimum per fight to $50,000.  Of course none of this is going to happen and Serrano and Paul have no intention to fight in the UFC.
  • Sodiq Yusuff vs. Alex Caceres is earmarked for a 3/12 show.
  • Johnny Walker vs. Jamahal Hill is earmarked for a 2/19 show.


  • The 1/14 GCW show in Detroit has announced Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Bussy vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Ricky Morton, Alex Colon vs. Hoodfoot and Rich Swann vs. Leon Ruff, plus Rhino on the show.  Appearing as guests will be Kevin Nash and Sabu.
  • James Laurinaitis, the son of the late Road Warrior Animal, a former star at Ohio State and with the St. Louis Rams, is expected to join the Notre Dame coaching staff. This would be his first coaching job.
  • Bull Nakano and Barbara Blank, the former Kelly Kelly, have been added as guests for WrestleCon in Dallas in conjunction with WrestleMania this year.
  • The St. Louis Jewish Light website has an article on Wrestling at the Chase and the new book by that title that came out locally (not to be confused with the great book Larry Matysik wrote about that era).  Wrestling at the Chase routinely drew 200,000 viewers per week just on KPLR-TV in St. Louis during its most popular period which would be from 1959 until probably early 1983. The title of the show remained until the late 80s when WWF used the Wrestling at the Chase title due to its popularity and familiarity in the market rather than WWE Superstars. (thanks to John Muse)
  • A story on Austin Idol and Billy Corgan working together on Idol's wrestling school (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)
  • There was a mention of Jimmy Snuka on the NCIS Los Angeles show over the weekend.  After Agent Roundtree jumps off a car to tackle a suspect, Agent Deeks says, "Roundtree my friend, that is the Jimmy Snuka superfly splash."  Roundtree had no idea what he was talking about.  (thanks to Grant Zwarych)
  • Tom Lawlor faces Paradigm Pro middleweight champion Jordan Blade on Wednesday's UWFI Rules Contenders series of IWTV.  The show headlines a six-fight show under UWFI rules that includes Illinois All-State wrestler Tanner Keeler and MLW's Gnarls Garvin.
  • Sanctuary Fight Club from Saturday night in Hamtramck, MI:  Sam Beale b Tyler Elkins, Ren Jones b Jason Hotch & TJ Meyer, Dickie Brunson b Kevin Kalloway, Jody Threat b Billie Starkz, Joe Coleman NC Joe Demaro, Silas Young b Zach Gowen (thanks to Leonard Brand)
  • A Go Fund Me fundraiser has been created for funeral costs for Kirk White, the promoter of the Newark, CA-based Big Time Wrestling promotion, who passed away on 12/24 of a heart attack
  • CWE announced its 13th anniversary iPPV show on 2/24 in Stonewall, Manitoba.

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